Last week we unveiled our media co-creation project at the Moseley Exchange. In the afternoon we ran a workshop on digital storytelling at the Exchange, followed by an evening reception to showcase the stories, platform and artwork.
The workshop explored the Exchange Stories project, the possibilities of digital storytelling for communities, and also discussed relevant projects and resources. Lisa Heledd Jones from StoryWorksUK, the company that had provided our initial training workshop, talked about the medium and some of the many projects she has been involved in. Workshop participants were from the local area, including representatives from community projects such as Moseley in Bloom and the Local History Project, and there was a strong enthusiasm for the applications of digital storytelling in future projects, with several ideas and possibilities for collaboration being discussed. There were also some very relevant questions raised in our open discussion, including the ethical responsibilities of capturing stories- how are they to be recorded, edited, contextualised, shared? To what extent do people self censor their stories, and how selective should the editing process be? Community digital storytelling needs ultimately to be as open and collaborative as possible, with participants being involved in both the capturing, content and editing process. However, there are, as we ourselves discovered, also varying levels of participation and time constraints that need to be taken into account. One of the key elements of digital storytelling is the sharing of content. It is an effective means through which not only to have a voice heard but also to hear and reflect on others, and as such, it is essential that the voices that are shared are truthful to the people sharing them (be those voices self censored, open, tentative, questioning….) and the context in which they are being presented.
Our evening event revolved very much around showcasing our co-creation project. So, we began with a short presentation and screening of some examples, before unveiling the new Exchange Stories website www.exchangestories.co.uk and inviting people to interact with it. The platform was created by Daniel from The Design Culture, a web designer operating from the Moseley Exchange, and illustrated with some specially commissioned artwork by Clare Younger, a former resident of Moseley. The same designs were utilised in a piece of art work to celebrate the project that was put up in the outside entrance to the building. Annette Naudin from the Moseley Exchange Community Development Trust unveiled this on the evening, and Sam Lockyer, a film maker based in the Moseley Exchange coworking space filmed the event for us. The response to the stories and to the website was fantastic. A questionnaire distributed on the evening recorded extremely positive responses. People engaged strongly with the stories and the format in which they were presented, and perhaps most importantly, several people wanted to have their story captured. The Exchange Stories is very much an ongoing project, and the stories we initially collected and shared are just a starting point.